The Ritz at Washington Heights’ site was historically occupied by Ritz Theater, a segregation-era movie theater that the park is named for in an effort to honor the community’s history.

Ritz Theater was the last movie theater built in Charlotte for only African Americans during segregation.

The project of reviving a park where, for centuries, the former Ritz Theater sat vacant, was chosen from over 2,000 entries for the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns Grant.

Lowe’s awarded millions of dollars to 100 unique community projects across the U.S in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary.

Lowe’s 100 Hometowns Initiative Grant awarded The Ritz at Washington Heights Project $200,000 to finance the park.

Other financial contributions included a $25,000 from the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association and a $50,000 contribution from the City of Charlotte’s Corridors of Opportunity Program.

Erin Chantry, the City of Charlotte’s Senior Urban Designer and Planner, said that the city collaborated with the residents for their input on the project.

The residents placed a high priority on honoring community history — including the former Ritz Theater, which was built in the waning days of racial segregation.

Under terms of the Lowe’s grant, there was a limited time-frame for project completion.

With all of the funding, and much sweat-equity, the City of Charlotte, the Lowe’s team, and the community constructed & transformed the 0.17-acre property at Beatties Ford Road and Tate Street into The Ritz at Washington Heights in approximately three months—which represented the fastest ever built infrastructure project in the City of Charlotte.

Saturday, November 6, 2021, The Ritz at Washington Heights held its inauguration ceremony (which "cleverly" featured sawing a two-by-four instead of the tradition ribbon-cutting).

During the ceremony, Charlotte City Council Member Malcolm Graham, District 2 stated, “I want to thank Lowe’s for the generous grant that provides the opportunity to build a place for families to gather and enjoy a rebirth of arts and culture in this community.

A theater remembered

Photo: The former Ritz Theater [above].  - For more on Historic West End theaters - Read More:

It took/takes a village ...

Preserving neighborhood history & culture.

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Ritz Theater

According to Cinema Treasures, Ritz Theater was erected in the early 1960s and closed in 1971. The building sat vacant for a while with its marquee intact before being demolished.

Lowe's Team

Lowe’s 100 Hometowns Initiative Grant awarded The Ritz at Washington Heights Project $200,000 to finance the park.


135 LOWE'S Volunteers from NORTH CAROLINA  contributed 793 hours in 8  different projects for the LOWE’S 100 HOMETOWNS


 The City of Charlotte Corridors of Opportunity funded $50,000 towards the project.


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